MANILA ELECTRIC Co. is facing increasing power demand within its franchise area. — BW FILE PHOTO

THE Department of Energy (DoE) has asked Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) on how the country’s largest electricity distribution company plans to cope the rise in power demand within its franchise area, the secretary said.

“I have written Meralco. I’m asking them on what are their measures to make sure they can cope up with the increase in demand, and that there is an assurance of supply,” DoE Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi told reporters.

“I asked them how will they cover for the increased demand in their franchise area,” he said, adding that the measures should also cover the coming years.

Mr. Cusi said he also asked electric cooperatives as well as distribution utilities how they will address the increasing demand.

He said the rising power demand could mean “good and bad.”

“Good, because it means the economy is improving, more activities. Bad, dahil kailangan paspasan ang pag-build ng (they have to work to build up) capacity, and it’s not that easy,” he said.

Asked whether he would approve the terms of reference (TOR) for the competitive bidding of Meralco’s energy requirements for the coming years, he said: “We have given our recommended TOR which is we would like to promote open, transparent, competitive selection process (CSP).”

“I hope they will listen to our recommendation,” he added.

Mr. Cusi renewed his call for private companies to build more merchant plants, or those without a forged power supply agreement (PSA) and sell their energy output in the spot market.

“We want to promote early construction of power plants, you know that. We have been promoting for merchant plants,” he said.

“We want those constructed ahead as merchants to be able to participate in the CSP. We don’t like to limit it (CSP) only to the power plants to be built,” he added. — Victor V. Saulon